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WSU Tri-Cities: Updates for students

  • May 3, 2020

Dear WSU Tri-Cities students,

Members of the WSU executive leadership team shared a variety of important information for students during today’s WSU systemwide COVID-19 online town hall. We want to make sure you are aware and have access to this information. Much of this was also shared as part of an email sent yesterday from WSU leaders.

The first item to share is information on CARES Act funding for students. WSU is receiving $10.8 million in funding as part of the CARES Act package. This funding will be awarded directly as aid to students on the basis of financial need. More than 9,000 students across the WSU system are eligible for this funding.

These funds will be dispersed directly to each eligible student’s account and, as mandated, cannot be used to pay off any outstanding student account balances. Funds must be used to pay for hardship expenses related to COVID-19. Students who qualify for these funds will receive an email from Student Financial Services the week of May 4 (next week) asking them to certify that they have had such expenses by answering a “yes or no” question. Student awards will range between $500 – $1,500 based on need and whether they have dependent children.

At this time, CARES Act funds are not available for students who have not submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or for undocumented students. However, funds are available to help students in hardship through WSU by other means. Contact the WSU Tri-Cities Office of Student Affairs if you are experiencing a hardship and need to access these funds at tricities.studentlife@wsu.edu.

For more information on CARES Act funds and additional emergency financial assistance available for students, visit studentcare.wsu.edu/student-resources/financial-assistance.

For questions specifically about financial aid, visit tricities.wsu.edu/finaid or contact the WSU Tri-Cities financial aid office at tricities.financialaid@wsu.edu. Additionally, those who have not completed their FAFSA for the 2020-2021 school year should do so atstudentaid.gov.

Secondly, WSU administration has made the decision not to refund student fees. WSU Tri-Cities has one mandatory Services and Activities Fee approved by students to pay for the Student Union Building. Building fees were exempt from refund before this decision was made.

Third, a reminder that Chromebooks are available for students who do not otherwise have access to a computer. Chromebooks are available via a loan program to students at no-cost. Those interested should fill-out the Computer Loan Program form atprovost.wsu.edu/posts/computer-loan-program. A temporary fee will be put on the student’s account that will not be assessed unless the computer is not returned after use. If the student wishes to keep the computer, indefinitely, the fee will be assessed to the student’s account.

Additionally, Wi-Fi “hot spots” and parking lot Wi-Fi are available for students. WSU is in the final stages of setting up a hot spot loaner program for students that will be offered at no cost and will include three months of service with unlimited data. Hot spots are portable Wi-Fi devices that can be utilized by students with limited to no Wi-Fi. For more information and to inquire about if it is an option for you, fill out the Wi-Fi Hotspot Program form at provost.wsu.edu/posts/wifi-access-interest. Once you fill out the form, WSU will look to make sure that you are within the coverage area of the carrier for the hot spot. If not, other options can be assessed to support you.

Additionally, WSU has been working with state legislators to set up parking lot Wi-Fi options at locations across the state. These will be available at WSU extension office parking lots, as well as at other locations, such as libraries, fire stations and more. The goal is to have at least one parking lot Wi-Fi option in every county across Washington. Additionally, WSU Tri-Cities has extended its Wi-Fi to the CIC parking lot, which is available for campus member use from their car using their WSU log-in.

Lastly, grades will be issued soon and a reminder that pass/fail grading is an option. The deadline to switch to pass/fail grading is June 1, which is after final grades have been posted. In other words, students have the opportunity to see their grades and then assess if they want to change to pass/fail grading. Students are strongly encouraged to talk with their academic advisor before making a decision as it could impact financial aid, scholarships and/or graduate school admission. For more information, WSU has produced a video talking about the parameters for pass/fail grading and options for students. View the video

To schedule a virtual appointment with an academic advisor, visit navigate.wsu.edu. Other inquiries can be directed to tricities.advising@wsu.edu, or by visiting the WSU Tri-Cities virtual advising help desk. For questions regarding financial aid, students should contact the WSU Tri-Cities financial aid office at tricities.financialaid@wsu.edu.

For questions related to each of these areas, I recommend you contact the respective departments listed with each item above. If you still have additional questions, we welcome you to email tricities.covid19@wsu.edu. We are here to help you!

I wish you a good finals week next week. Study hard, get plenty of rest and eat well. I am incredibly impressed by the resiliency demonstrated by you and your fellow students as you complete this semester while balancing all the other changes in your life at this time. We are all proud of you and your accomplishments.

Sincerely,

Sandra Haynes, Ph.D.
Chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities